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Cretan Man Given Life for Raping, Killing US Scientist

It was a case that shocked the island and country, and even around the world, the savage rape and murder of US scientist Suzanne Eaton, 59, on Crete in the summer of 2019, for which a 28-year-old man has been convicted and given a life sentence.

Yiannis Paraskakis had confessed under police questioning, saying he was motivated by sexual satisfaction, and after five other women said he'd tried to do the same to them, no explanation from police why he hadn't been caught before.

Prosecutors said his mode of operation was to try hit women with his car to disable them, which he was able to do to Eaton, a runner and martial artist and who was believed to have gone for a walk or run when targeted by him.

There was a massive hunt for Eaton, a molecular biologist who was much admired by her peers. Her body was discovered six days later in the ventilation drain of an abandoned World War II bunker outside the city of Chania.

Eaton, from Armonk, New York, was based in Dresden, Germany, where she worked at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.

Eaton’s sister, Julie Broaddus Eaton, was present in court.  Paraskakis appeared in court wearing a bulletproof police vest. 

Police said the married mother of two sons was asphyxiated and small stab wounds were also found on her body, reported the Reuters news agency.

“This was a world-class biologist,” prosecution lawyer Vasso Pantazi said of the Oakland-born scientist.

“In terms of virus contagiousness and vaccines, you can understand how useful she would have been today,” she added.

Paraskakis, a married dad of two, and son of a priest, claimed he was “possessed by demons giving him orders,” a police officer testified in the trial.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

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